Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Don't Even Think About Getting Me That Knitted Toaster Cover.

The holiday season is here and all the excitement that comes with it: The parties! The shopping! The buffets! It's all over so quickly, but there's one thing I can count on to be with me even after the season has ended, something that will remind me of the holidays long after the tree has been unceremoniously thrown to the curb and the last piece of gingerbread has been inhaled.

I'm talking of course, about all those bad Christmas gifts.

It's not that I'm ungrateful - I'm definitely from the 'It's The Thought That Counts' camp when it comes to gifts. It's just that I can't help but feel bad for the tree that had to die in order to make those wooden boxes adorned with cat portraits that I got one year, or the underage Thai children that worked at a knitting machine for hours to turn out that beaded, sequined, mauve vest a friend gave me.

So I thought as a service to anyone in the midst of their shopping this year I would put together a gift guide, something to help you figure out what not to buy this holiday season in the hopes that your gift won't end up in the back of someone else's closet only to be re-gifted to you for your birthday in two years. Happy shopping!

1. Try to avoid giving those huge gift baskets of cheese and salami to anyone on a diet, or twenty-pound bags of Starbucks coffee to someone trying to cut their caffeine intake. However, if you've already purchased these items, I'll be happy to take them off your hands.

2. By the same token, never give a vial of live Ebola virus to a hypochondriac.

3. Don't give gifts 'for the baby' to a pregnant woman. This will only breed resentment towards the unborn child because what the mother-to-be really wants are some nice bath products or a gift card to an all-night donut shop. There'll be plenty of time for resentment once the baby is born.

4. Additionally, absolutely never gifts 'for the baby' if you're not certain the woman is pregnant. If it turns out she has just put on a little weight you can just kiss that friendship goodbye.

5. Stay away from pet-themed gifts unless you know that the recipient is a dog fanatic or subscribes to Cat Fancy magazine. I have a friend who gave me cat gifts for Christmas and birthdays for three years straight. Earrings with cats, cat necklaces, cat stationery, even a fly swatter with a felt cat on it. The sheer awfulness boggled the mind. While we had a cat we loved, I never considered myself a 'cat person,' one of those people who wears huge sweatshirts with sparkly, appliquéd cats on the front and who always signs their name with a little paw print next to it.

6. When giving an item of clothing to a female friend, never buy it in her actual size, always at least two sizes smaller than she wears even if you know it will be an inconvenience for her to return it. She will think you see her as thin, which is important to all good friendships.

7. It is never a good idea to give suggestive pictures of yourself to your husband for Christmas, as this may cause some uncomfortable moments during the big family gift exchange. Plus, it can be crushing when your niece asks, "Are those pictures of Grandpa Earl?"

8. Don't give movies unless you are certain of the recipients tastes. It's fine, for instance, to give a Super Deluxe Gold Re-mastered Pantomimed Edition of The Lord Of The Rings if you know that the person is a fan of the movie. But buying someone a DVD because you've "watched it at least fifty times" is not a good reason, and you may be shocked to discover that not everyone thinks Patch Adams is a cinematic masterpiece.

9. The same rule applies to books. They are not a good gift choice unless you know the person very well, or are trying to date them in which case remember to only buy books that greatly exaggerate your intelligence and knowledge base. Art Of The French Renaissance will get you considerably more action than Garfield: Survival of the Fattest.

10. Never give anything that can't be quickly recovered from the closet and put on display whenever you come over. It's unfair to expect your friend to haul out that life-size panda wall clock you gave her whenever you decide to drop by for a visit. At least that small vase made out of walnut shells can be brought out from behind the books at the last minute. Be considerate.

11. Try not to give expensive gifts to your neighbors. They will perceive you as being rich and will constantly be over to ask for things, like a cup of sugar or some gold bullion bars.

12. It is dishonest to give someone a gift you know they won't use because you are secretly hoping they'll turn around and say, "Oh, I'll never use this. Here - you take it." Like giving a friend who never cooks an expensive enameled sauté pan. Not that I've ever done that. I'm just saying.

13, Avoid stereotypical ethnic gifts. It annoys the hell out me when someone gives me a pair of chopsticks, or a toothpick-holder shaped like a rickshaw, or a 3-disc bundle of all the Karate Kid movies. If you feel you really can't help yourself from buying these types of gifts, try not to preface them with statements such as, "I wanted to give you something from your motherland" or "Your people sure know how to kung-fu."

14. Unless you are very close to the person you are giving to, never hand them a gift and say, "I know you're going to love this. I bought ten of them for myself." It is a 100% certainty that they will hate it, and then question your taste for all eternity.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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35 comments:

  1. Are you serious? I want a gift basket filled with cheese and salami and the karate kid. An all-night doughnut shop gift certificate is a close second. Hilarious list!

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  2. My simplified solution to all this is no Christmas presents at all. Alright, my son gets a total of four that we picked out but except for that I'm boycotting Christmas and buying things whenever I want to. Best decision I ever made. Wife calls me The Grinch but I don't care......

    AD

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  3. I'm getting you your very own copy of "Pooty Tang" on DVD. Talk about high brow! Sad-a-tay, my Davie!

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  4. Very sound advice......

    I notice you didn't add in electric appliances to that list......such as the toaster, iron, vaccum.....etc that I have received from my mother, or my spouse (there is a reason I am single again!)

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  5. I guess I won't give you that Patch Adams/Karate Kid 4 - The next Karate Kid DVD set after all. Fine I'll keep them for myself and enjoy them while chewing on a log of salami.

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  6. Please, I will take a cheese and salami gift basket any day, diet or no diet...

    What I'll do is get a bunch of those baskets and rent videos from your 'motherland' (who says that???) and invite you over. The invite is your gift. Good? LOL!

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  7. Great list. Very sound advice. And you crack me up. What I need is some Depends for when I am reading your blog. I about wet myself every single time! You are soooo damn funny girl!

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  8. Why isn't there a Sweatpantsmom fan club? Seriously. I won't be happy until I see your face on the cover of the comedian's version of "Teen Beat." If they have one.

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  9. Okay, I laughed my petutie off at #13! I've received a few Geisha dolls...hhmmmm...I wonder what they're trying to tell me? :P

    Does this mean that you DON'T want that hand-knit red and green sweater with the picture of a Siamese cat wearing a santa hat on the front of it? Are you sure? It's adorned with lovely beads, sequins, mini jingle bells, and the cat is holding a REAL pair of chopsticks in his tiny paw.

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  10. I fucking love this list. But I guess I need to take back the 20 copies of Patch Adams I bought for everyone. It's really a shame, such a good flick.

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  11. What?! You don't like "wax on, wax off"? And Patch Adam is NOT cinematic masterpiece?! I'm so guilty in so many categories. Thanks for the wake up call.

    But I do know what you love to get though. Hotel loots.

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  12. I love this list. Especially #6 - I must get the word out to all my girlfriends.

    -annie

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  13. You are good.

    My sister specialises in gifts so relentlessly dreadful that even though I steel myself every year for what is to come I still find myself close to tears once the paper and gift have fallne from my limp defeated grasp.

    I am a grown man, I don't even want a present and STILL what she buys me is bad enough to wound at a level hidden beyond the sub-conscious. She is a genius.

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  14. Man, I needed this list before buying my brother the 'Zen Potato' kit!

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  15. If I may add a certain type of gits you should not give to a person, unless you KNOW etc.

    Do not give somebody something for their younameit-collection, if you are not sure wether they indeed are collecting it.

    One friend gave me a Pope JP II book once, since then I've recieved all sorts of Pope JP II items (dvd, callender, portraits, postcards); because apparently *something* happend in everybodys heads after seeing the book on my shelf; it made all of my friends and visitors think for some reason I collect all sorts Pope JP II items.

    Yesterday a friend of mine returned from a trip to Mexico (we both live in Holland), she told me walked a market in some small Mexican town and saw a portrait-flipside-mirror of JP II 'It made me think of you so I had to buy it for you!'

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  16. I agree there should be a Sweatpantsmom fan club, I think I just found the perfect rename for my blog.

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  17. I'm so sad you didn't like the life-size panda wall clock I gave you.

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  18. So I guess a sweatshirt that says "I'm purrfect and so is my cat" is out of the question? Tee hee.

    All kidding aside, this list is fabulous.

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  19. Every single one is hilarious. I especially love the stereotypical ethnic gifts. I've never experienced that. Being of Northern European stock I don't know what I would get--some boiled potatoes? Lutefisk?

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  20. "6. When giving an item of clothing to a female friend, never buy it in her actual size, always at least two sizes smaller than she wears even if you know it will be an inconvenience for her to return it. She will think you see her as thin, which is important to all good friendships."

    Oh!!! Finally!! Now I understand the female brain... Excuse while I blow up the top of my head.

    Just kidding. But this explains a lot of the dissapointed looks I've been given throughout all my life over thoughfull gifts.

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  21. I love this list!!! And for those people out there who "bought one for themselves so they knew you'd love it", what the hell?

    Carrie

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  22. "im sorry you hated the mauve sequined, beaded vest. So much for hand made gifts. I won't do it again.

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  23. Damn, no ebola? Now what will I get her?

    Any ideas are appreciated.

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  24. Oh, #12 has given me an idea. I'll now be buying a a brand new sub-zero fridge for a good friend of mine...

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  25. #13 cracked me up! Funny list.

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  26. i take it you would have realllyyy loved the chia pet herb garden my husband gave me a few years ago. no? i really didn't care for it either or perhaps the harlequin snowdome that played the theme song from "ice castles?" (all a true story!)

    score! i win on truly bad gifts from your significant other that you can't regift to another soul alive....

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  27. Okay, you're funny. Yea, avoid bedroom shots while exchanging gifts at a family gathering. Ha!

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  28. yeah. my mum and dad are coming this christmas, and she has suggested "how about no big presents--just stockings." and I was all, like, "OK!"

    Now I am wondering what in the hell a 62 year old man would like Santa to bring him that's stocking sized and not utter crap.

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  29. This list is a godsend. Shopping and I don't go together in the same sentence. I'm the kind of person who gives a housecoat when someone hints about needing a robe.

    Thanks for the tips!

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  30. Awesome tips. #5 made me laugh out loud. I'd pay to see a pic of you modeling all of your cat accessories!

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  31. Do you have any idea what a pain it's going to be, trying to return that knitted tea cozy with the face of Ralph Macchio as the Karate Kid that I got for you this year? So, you don't want the "Wax on, wax off" t-shirt either, I suppose? :P

    Love the list.

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  32. Do you have any idea what a pain it's going to be, trying to return that knitted tea cozy with the face of Ralph Macchio as the Karate Kid that I got for you this year? So, you don't want the "Wax on, wax off" t-shirt either, I suppose? Just where is your sense of cultural heritage? ;P

    Love the list.

    Our first Christmas together my husband bought me Star Trek action figures. Best not to ask.

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  33. You are hilarious. One Christmas -before we were married- my husband bought me.....and I am not lying....a CASE of oil and an ice scraper for my car. WHAT? Oil for my car? He told me he knew I needed it. I call this desperate shopping on Christmas Eve.

    I can't believe I married him.....

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